Beijing Restaurant Guide:
Dining and Eating Out in Beijing

South-East Asian Restaurants in Beijing (Thai, Vietnamese, Malaysian)

Purple Haze
Purple Haze Restaurant, Beijing A sophisticated and elegant Thai restaurant that serves up quality food at reasonable prices and occasional live jazz.
Purple Haze features a pleasing decor with purple-toned walls and curtains contrasting with yellow table cloths, all of which is cast under a dim glow. The sizeable menu has a focus on seafood for the main courses. Salads and starters average ¥35-40, curries and meat-based mains ¥45, while seafood mains average ¥90. The extensive wine list starts at ¥130 for a bottle, beer is ¥10-25 and spirits and cocktails are ¥30. It’s strange that a restaurant with at least 50% foreign patronage employs some waiters who can’t, or choose not to, speak English. The restaurant’s second location in the hutongs has a popular live jazz session on Wednesday nights. See the website for details.
Ph. (010) 6413 0899 Web: Open: 11:00-1:00
Address: Opposite the north gate of the Workers Stadium Subway: Dongsishitiao
Directions: From Gongti Beilu, head up the small alley next to ICBC Bank.
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去紫苏庭,谢谢。地址:工体北门正对面胡同里 (工商银行后)。
Serve the People
Serve the People Restaurant, Beijing Serve the People is a Thai restaurant that enjoys an outstanding reputation in Beijing which it doesn’t really live up to.
Not that there is anything wrong with Serve the People – it offers tasty Thai food at fairly standard prices of ¥40-50 for mains and ¥25 for starters. The interior is basic – there’s almost no decoration at all – but the outdoor seating can be nice in the warmer months. Service is up to scratch and the staff speak some English. Serve the People is a decent option if you’re looking for Thai food, but ignore any hype you might hear about it.
Ph. (010) 8454 4580 Open: 10:30-22:30
Address: 1 Sanlitun Xiwujie Subway: Agricultural Exhibition Center
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去为人民服务,谢谢。地址:三里屯西五街1号。
Nuage Restaurant
Nuage Restaurant, Beijing A swanky Vietnamese restaurant, Nuage boasts a dazzling design and superb views onto Houhai Lake.
The interior oozes atmosphere with plants, bridges and some tables made up like rickshaws. If you can bag a table on the roof (incurs a 10% service charge) you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Qianhai Lake as well as the Bell and Drum Towers. The food at Nuage is delicious but is a little over-priced given that the portions are small. Starters such as spring rolls and salads as well as light meals like noodles cost ¥30-45. Main courses cost ¥60 and upwards and wine starts from ¥260 per bottle. Definitely worth a visit for the ambience alone.
Address: 22 Qianhai Dongyan Ph. (010) 6401 9581 Open: 11:00-14:00; 17:30-22:30
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去庆云楼,谢谢。地址:前海东沿22号。
Cafe Sambal
Cafe Sambal, Beijing Cafe Sambal is an over-rated Malaysian restaurant in a Hutong not far from the Drum and Bell Towers.
Which isn’t to say that Cafe Sambal isn’t a good restaurant – it just doesn’t live up to the hype around it. The atmosphere is undeniably top-notch and the service is decent. The restaurant takes full advantage of its quiet courtyard setting and oozes with character and charm. But the food isn’t all it’s cracked up to be – good, but not spectacular. Main courses average around ¥40-45 with starters around the ¥30 mark. Beers cost around ¥20 with cocktails and spirits around ¥30-35. The toilets are foul.
Ph. (010) 6400 4857 Open: 12:00-0:00
Address: 43 Doufuchi Hutong (off Jiugulou Dajie) Subway: Gulou
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去萨伯咖啡,谢谢。地址:旧鼓楼大街豆腐池胡同43号。
Lotus Root Restaurant
Lotus Root Restaurant, Beijing A Houhai restaurant serving cheap and tasty south-east Asian food, Lotus Root boasts a charming interior.
It’s run-down with peeling paint and weathered furniture but in a way that is tasteful and endearing. Main courses start from as little as ¥25 with an average price of ¥35. The food is simple but flavorsome, the portions are generous and the service is competent. The bar menu boasts a moderate range of alcohol at standard Houhai prices. The only negative is the awful coffee and average desserts. If the weather permits, seek a table on the delightful roof-top terrace.
Address: 29 Yandai Xiejie Ph. (010) 8401 5544 Open: 10:00-0:00
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去莲花,谢谢。地址:烟袋斜街29号(后海)。
Banana Leaf
Banana Leaf Restaurant, Beijing Banana Leaf is a Thai(ish)/pan-south east Asian restaurant that goes all out in the interior design stakes.
The shrub-filled, bamboo-hut surrounded result they’ve come up with stops just short of tackiness. Main courses vary greatly in price – a filling meal can be bought for as little as ¥35 but other options are around the ¥80 mark. With a very lengthy menu presenting all manner of curries, seafood, vegetarian and meat-based dishes it can take quite a while to settle on something. Unfortunately it can take even longer to get the attention of a waiter once you have made your choice. Banana Leaf staff have perfected the art of purposely avoiding eye contact.
Address: 4 Gongti Bei Lu Subway: Tuanjiehu Ph. (010) 6506 8855 Open: 11:00-23:00
Show the taxi driver: 请带我去蕉叶风味屋,谢谢。地址:工体北路4号 (凯富酒店后)。